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2009 NFC Championship Preview

Bobby Sansone

By: Bobby Sansone, YFFL.com Senior Writer

Posted: Dec 18, 2009

The Dragons and Mallards meet for the third time this season, this time with the NFC Championship on the line. Will the third try be the charm for the defending champion Dragons or will the Mallards continue their dominance and reach their first Super Bowl? YFFL.com senior writer Bobby Sansone has the preview:

Snapdragons

Vernon Davis The acquisition of Vernon Davis may have saved the Dragons' season

The Dragons are back in the NFC Championship game after a tumultuous season. They snuck into the playoffs at 7-6 after a year of mostly disappointing play. Riding the fantasy wave of Aaron Rodgers and Vernon Davis, Jon overcame an 0-3 start to finish out a solid 7-3 and grab the NFC Wild Card. The trade for Vernon Davis looked suspect at first but turned out to be the biggest of the three impact trades involving TEs this season. It was a bold move because it left the Dragons with no backup QB, a rare roster hole for the always conservative-minded Kinsman.

The Dragons' struggles can be attributed to injuries and the disappointing Matt Forte. Forte will get the start this weekend but injuries have forced Kinsman to go to a rare 2-TE set with the Davis twins, Vernon and Fred. Wes Welker and Hines Ward get the start at WR which could be problematic with games at Pittsburgh and at Buffalo. Winter weather may have forced Jon's hand in starting the ineffective Shane Graham over Lindell this week. With almost all of the Dragons playing outdoors in cold weather this week, Jon has reason for concern.

Fightin' Mallards

Michael Turner Steve has been monitoring Falcons practice all week for signs of Michael Turner

The Mallards are making their first ever playoff appearance after 8 years of futility. The franchise ranks dead last with a .433 winning percentage and just 39 wins this decade. Steve Dugas is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2005 and it's been a long-time coming. The "golden boy" of fantasy football lost some respect from his fellow owners in the last few years and is determined to party like it's 2004 with a YFFL Championship.

The Mallards on paper have the most dominant lineup in the league today with 2 outstanding QBs, 2 outstanding RBs, 3 stud receivers, a stud TE, a clutch kicker and a phenomenal rookie. I'll have to admit I was terrified of the Mallards after they ripped off Kevin and acquired Owen Daniels and Miles Austin burst on to the scene like Vanilla Ice. Unfortunately for the Mallards, fantasy football isn't really played on paper. The Mallards have been decimated by injuries to almost all of their starters, which makes this game much more interesting.

Injuries to Michael Turner and David Boston...I mean Calvin Johnson, leave Dugas losing sleep each night. Will we see a Ted Ginn, Jr. appearance in the NFC Championship?

Cook! [Fred] Davis! Ginn, Jr! Graham! Mallards! Dragons! It's the NFC Championship next on FOX!

Projections

Here is how both teams are projected to do courtesy of game predictions from the internet:

Dragons Opp Proj. Stats Proj. Pts
Rodgers @ PIT 280 yards passing, 3 TDs 18
Forte @ BAL 30 yards rushing 0
Gore @ PHI 128 yards rushing, 1 TD 10
Ward vs GB 58 yards receiving 2
Welker @ BUF 88 yards receiving 2
V. Davis @ PHI 75 yards receiving, 1 TD 8
Graham @ SD 1 FG, 1 PAT 4
F. Davis vs NYG 44 yards receiving 0
44
Mallards Opp Proj. Stats Proj. Pts
Roethlisberger vs GB 188 yards passing, 1 TD 6
Jackson vs HOU 113 yards rusghing, 1 TD 10
Colston vs DAL 87 yards receiving, 1 TD 8
Austin @ NO 94 yards receiving, 1 TD 8
Crabtree @ PHI 43 yards receiving 0
Cook vs MIA Who the hell is Jared Cook? 0
Crosby @ PIT 1 FG, 3 PAT 6
Snelling @ NYJ 60 yards rushing 2
40

Final Verdict

This game will come down to the Steelers-Packers match-up. If Big Ben and the Steelers can pass on the stout Packer defense, the Mallards will have a shot. The Mallards will likely need at least 16 points from the Saints-Cowboys Saturday night game. I don't think this game will get out of 30s with all of these cold weather games. I'm interested to see how the 49ers play after traveling cross-country on a short week. I wouldn't be surprised if they struggle with the Eagles blitzing scheme. The 49ers come up empty and so do the Dragons.

Mallards 38-36